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Battling alcoholism can derail your life. After bravely dealing with your addiction and regaining control, getting a job is the next formidable challenge you must face. While your past problems with alcohol may add some complications to the job acquisition process, they won’t stop you from getting a job if you handle them proactively and with the same strength you exerted when fighting your addiction.
Select an Appropriate Job
Choose wisely when you venture back into the workforce. Avoid any jobs that may trigger a relapse. For example, working in a bar would be a bad choice. If you are newly recovered, it’s also wise to consider the amount of stress each job would include. Taking on a stress-rich job could increase the risk of your problems re-occurring, so it is wise to select something that is less emotionally taxing as you take your first steps back to work.
To tell or not to tell, that is the question. If you handled your issues with alcohol before legal troubles besmirched your record, you might be able to keep your past a secret. If, however, there are legal rulings or other pieces of evidence that a simple background check will unearth, telling your potential employer upfront is a good idea. If you don’t speak up and a background check reveals evidence of your struggle, your potential employer may doubt whether he can trust you, given your propensity to withhold information.
Share Information Appropriately
If you do choose to admit that you struggled with alcohol, keep your admission brief and detail-light. Don’t dwell on the topic, cautions Louise Kursmark, president of Best Impression Career Services in an interview with Bloomberg Business Week. Instead, mention it and move on. Conclude your discussion of this delicate topic with a confident statement in which you say that you have a firm handle on the problem. (Wall Street Journal and Michael’s House)
Seek Empathetic Employers
Some employers are exceptionally understanding and willing to overlook spotted pasts. Gerald Chamales, chairman of Rhinotek Computer Products, is one such employer. A battle with alcoholism left him homeless and he, like many, found the road back difficult. In 1979, he started his own business, which now has sales in the millions of dollars annually. Chamales suggests that people with pasts like his network and look for employers who can be empathetic and understanding, as these employers will overlook issues of the past and allow applicants the opportunities to prove themselves in the future.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.
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